The Glory of God
I tend to be very practical in my faith. I love various how to lists, top ten lists, and setting personal spiritual goals. I like to know what I need to get done so that I can go and do it. But every once in a while I am reminded of the awesomeness of God and that he is beyond the scope of any top ten list.
In 1977, congress approved funding for the Hubble telescope. After years of hard work, scientists finally launched it into space in 1990. Unfortunately, when the first images were taken they were blurry. After months of trouble shooting, engineers discovered that one of the reflective lenses was off by a fraction of a millimeter causing the images to be blurry. Three years later, in 1993, NASA sent a crew up to fix the lens and when the first pictures came back, they were even more astounding than they had imagined.
Because of the telescope, scientists are able to see millions and millions of stars and other galaxies filled with planets. And as far as scientists can tell, none of them are just like earth, able to sustain life. We are unique in every respects to the characteristics where life can exist.
David writes: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1.
What blows me away is the fact that God created all of this, yet he still knows my name! He knows yours too. The God who created the heavens and all of the earth wants to bless your life with His presence and purpose.
When my son was very young I gave him a trike to pedal around on. At first he went really slow and was very cautious, but the more he rode it, the faster he wanted to go. Eventually he was so good at riding his trike that he wanted to step up to a two-wheeled bike with training wheels.
The first time he got on it his sisters stared in amazement. He was a little intimidated by it, but he was determined to ride. I stood next to him and reassured him that he could do it. He sat on the seat and began to pedal. And for a few weeks he rode around happy as could be. But then he got the itch to take the training wheels off. Again he was timid because it was just him and two wheels. I couldn’t ride it for him, I couldn’t work the pedals, I could just support him and help him get his balance. This time there would be no crutch, no extra support, just a sweet hand me down sweet blue Huffy. Ultimately he had to decide whether to pedal ahead or hit the brakes.
As soon as the training wheels came off, Josh swung his leg over the frame and put one foot on the pedal. I was behind him helping him get his balance and my wife was 10 feet in front of him with open arms reassuring him that he could pedal to her. With a little push he pedaled, wobbling back and forth, eventually making it to his mother. We did this over and over lengthening the gap between his mother and I until he was able to ride on his own. By the end of the day he was riding in circles all by himself and has never looked back.
The same is true in our spiritual life. We need to move from just knowing about Jesus to actually taking responsibility to grow closer to him. “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” 1 Peter 2:1-3.
There is a big difference between standing still and making progress. You are responsible to keep making progress with your faith. You determine if it grows or plateaus. God is always willing to help you, but it’s up to you to let Him. Take one step closer to the cross today.
A Profound Claim
Has someone ever said something to you that was so profound or so memorable that it just stuck in your head? Something that implies it is the real deal? The phrase “It’s the real McCoy” comes to mind. While working as a fireman on the Michigan Central Railroad, Elijah McCoy invented an automatic lubricator for oiling the steam engines of locomotives, boats, and other motorized transportation. McCoy’s invention revolutionized the railroad industry because it allowed the trains to run longer and with more reliability thus saving the railroad thousands in maintenance costs. His automatic lubricator for locomotives was so good that all the maintenance hands that worked on the trains always knew whether they were working with a cheap imitation or the Real McCoy.
When Jesus declared that he is the bread of life in John 6:35 he revealed that he is the real McCoy. “35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” John 6:35. This was a jaw-dropping declaration. This statement forces a person to decide if Jesus is for real or a real fake. A day earlier he had fed in excess of 5,000 people by miraculously multiplying five small loaves of bread and a couple fish. To the Jew, bread was life and it reminded them of God’s provision of manna for their forefathers who wandered the dessert under Moses' leadership for 40 years. Interestingly, Jesus was born in Bethlehem and the name "Bethlehem" means “House of bread.” God knew what he was doing, the bread of life was born in the house of bread. The symbolism is so clear. Jesus continues: “47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life.” John 6:47-48.
Jesus is making a direct claim to Deity by declaring “I am the bread of life.” He is revealing who he is, why he came, and what we need to do about it. Jesus invites you to follow him “consuming” his sacrifice on the cross by believing that he is who he says he is and he did what he said he would do. Do you believe that Jesus is the bread of life? Will you trust him to provide for you and comfort you today?